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Sunday, May 26, 2024

World Travel Market opens

Story by Memory Chamisa

ZIMBABWE is among several countries taking part in this year’s edition of the World Travel Market which kicked off in London this Monday.

The Zimbabwean delegation led by the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Honourable Barbara Rwodzi is exhibiting at the four-day global event that has brought together tourism enthusiasts to London.

Exhibitors representing Zimbabwe are upbeat about marketing the country’s tourism destinations and products to the world.

“I am excited to be part of this global showpiece and it comes back after a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 and now we are all looking forward to it,” said an exhibitor.

Another added saying, “We are here at WTC to promote the wildlife in Zimbabwe and the various Safari tours that are operating in the country and we look forward to bagging travel packages from people here in attendance.”

“We believe we have a diverse portfolio that is going to be competitive and a lot of tourism products that most countries do not have and we are going to use that to our advantage in marketing brand Zimbabwe,” said an exhibitor.

Minister Rwodzi highlighted the significance of Zimbabwe taking part at the premiere global event.

“The UK is the second largest market for international tourists and the largest in Europe in both arrivals and receipts. In 2022, Zimbabwe received 53,073 tourists from the United Kingdom and by September 2023 we have received 33,286 indicating a high possibility of surpassing this figure by year end. Our presence at WTM is therefore critical to engage with the UK and Ireland as well as other markets that are represented here. Objective Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are our biggest marketers as far as tourism is concerned because they can sell Zimbabwe better than anyone else. They are the backbone of the market because the Destination Zimbabwe relies on them. Long before many people decide to visit Zimbabwe, they would have met and interacted with a Zimbabwean and this interaction could either make them want to engage with or avoid the country. The ministry’s drive is to encourage the diasporas to invest back home in the tourism sector and develop areas they come from. We are also inviting those diasporans who are coming home this festive season to come and experience all our tourism products in Zimbabwe,” she said.

Zimbabwe will also take advantage of the space to promote Gastronomy Tourism through showcasing traditional cuisines, an initiative which was birthed by the First Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to promote a healthy lifestyle and national identity.

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